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Providing valuable and constructive feedback can help create your next steps towards smart goals and effective development plans. To get you off on the right foot, we’ve compiled a list of tips for both employees and managers on how to give feedback the right way and start the new year with a bang.
5 tips for employees
When giving feedback to colleagues start with positive feedback, base your feedback on observations, facts, and examples. Here are a few guidelines to follow:
1. Be specific
Think about the specific behaviors that are important for your colleague to do an amazing job. If you notice room for improvement, share it with your colleague in break-down points.
2. Offer suggestions for improvement
Provide a sense of direction. Practical examples are easy to remember so your colleague is more likely to take up your suggestions.
3. Listen actively
When you listen actively, you know more about your colleagues’ fields of interest and discover development solutions. The knowledge will help your feedback be more constructive.
Do not just throw an icy bucket of your opinions at someone and leave them with it. Come back to the person after a week or a month, depending on the nature of the matter.
5. The final word: Practice
It takes practice to give constructive feedback. People hold various perspectives and respond to feedback in different ways. Practice gives you the flexibility and confidence in delivering feedback in the most constructive way.
Completing your self-assessment
Think about what and how you want to improve next year. Do not blame others for shortcomings in your performance. Think of a constructive way to address the subject.
1. Evaluate strengths
Make sure to highlight what went well, why you enjoyed working on certain projects, and what skills you used.
2. Areas for improvement
Improvement is part of your career development. Recognizing areas you want to improve on will also help your manager to coach you better.
3. Look to the future
Think about your career and the role you want to take in the future. What skills do you need to develop to get there? Make sure to explain what you enjoy doing the most.
7 tips for managers
When giving feedback to employees, saying ‘Good job!’ is not good enough. Try using the suggestions below to drive the results you desire.
1. Give positive feedback first
Explain what your employee did in particular so they can learn what type of behavior they should keep up in the future.
2. Set goals and new challenges
Even if you only have positive feedback to give, you should encourage your employees to continue improving by helping them set goals and new challenges.
3. Don’t base feedback on results
Be careful not to base positive feedback exclusively on results. Sometimes even if an employee puts forth their best effort, a project could fall through due to some external reasons.
It’s at these times that positive feedback can be most effective in counteracting the demotivating feeling your employee may be experiencing after not seeing their efforts materialize.
4. Be clear and specific
It’s important to clearly explain why this is hurting their performance. Referring to specific situations will encourage employees to recall their past behavior and think about what actions they could take to change their performance.
5. Use a growth mindset
Remember that the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset is that people with a fixed mindset see their abilities as static so feedback can often be seen as a personal attack.
Framing your feedback in a way that focuses on behavior, rather than traits, emphasizes that you are drawing their attention to certain areas because you believe it will help them improve their performance. The safest way to avoid this is to make statements based on facts and observations.
6. Limit feedback to one or two areas at a time
Though you may see several areas your employee needs to work on, overloading them with feedback could overwhelm them. Avoid confusion by focusing on improving one or two areas at a time. Analyzing metrics of your employee’s performance will help you decide which skill to work on first.
7. Find a solution together
Give your employees a chance to respond to your comments so you can see it from their perspective and properly address the situation. Remember your job is to give them perspective on their actions. Give suggestions of ways they could adjust their performance and ask what steps they think they could take.
This is also a good way to make sure they understood and will take steps to change their behavior. Ask for advice on how you as their manager can help them to achieve this goal. This will reinforce your willingness to help them and demonstrate your receptiveness to receiving feedback yourself.
So, whether you’re a manager providing useful insights for your team, or a team member embracing the 360-feedback culture and helping your team develop day by day, keep these tips in mind when completing your end-of-the-year performance reviews. You’ll be ready to launch the new year with the perfect formula for a feedback culture that sets everyone on the road to success.
Madeline is a writer, communicator, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change. She holds a bachelor's in English Creative Writing and Communication Studies and lives in Denver, Colorado. In her spare time, she's usually somewhere outside (preferably in the mountains) — and enjoys poetry and fiction.